Career Success

In a meeting, two people can express the exact same idea, and one will be overlooked while the other will be taken seriously. If you’re like me, you’ve witnessed this phenomenon your entire career. You may have even been the person whose ideas were overlooked. Why does this happen? Clearly, the reaction you receive is [...]

If you jump off the roof of your house and survive uninjured, was that a good decision? Or phrased more appropriately, was it a risk-free decision? Intuition would tell you that you were exposed to risk, even if you didn’t get hurt. I first learned about risk from McKinsey’s Financial Institutions practice. I spent a [...]

In a corporate strategic plan, it’s often easy to come up with big goals of what the company could or should do. The far more difficult part is allocating resources (people, finances, attention span) because there are never enough resources to do everything you could do. The same is true in your personal life and [...]

At the start of every new year, many people create resolutions or goals for the New Year. At the same time, most people also give up on these goals well before the end of the year. Having worked in industries whose sales are driven by New Year’s Resolutions, I can tell you exactly when people [...]

When you’re in a conflict with someone else, you want to define your goal clearly. Are you trying to “win” the conflict, or to “resolve” it? Although the words seem similar enough to be interchangeable, they couldn’t be more different. When you “win” a conflict, you get the outcome that you want without regard to [...]

One of my favorite television shows is Inside the Actors Studio. It is a long-form interview show, where a famous actor or actress is interviewed for about an hour. The show is filmed before a live audience consisting of students at a well-known film school. What I like about the show is that it gets [...]

“Eighty Percent of Success is Showing Up.” – Woody Allen, Actor I first encountered this quote by Woody Allen decades ago. At the time, the idea that the majority of success involved merely showing up seemed overly simplistic and surely an exaggeration. I’ve since come to the conclusion that his statement is more true than [...]

When you’re an individual contributor, you focus mainly on time management. There are 24 hours in a day. You allocate them according to what’s most important to you. As you progress in your professional career (and as your personal life gets more complex, such as raising multiple children or caring for aging parents), it makes [...]

In every professional interaction, the other person communicates on two channels. First, the other person communicates verbally what they’re thinking. Second, the other person communicates non-verbally what he or she really means. The big insight is that in many cases, what someone says and what they mean are not always the same thing. If you [...]

  “Whenever there are two people in the same room, there’s politics.” – Eugene J Webb (1934-1995) Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor for over 25 years One of my former professors made the argument that anytime there are two people in a room, there’s politics. Normally the term “corporate politics” has an enormously negative [...]

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